Greece is experiencing an acute social crisis. We need to pay attention to this, because Greece is a living example of what austerity does to a society. The people of Greece are guinea pigs in a neo-liberal assault on social democracy.
The same is beginning to happen in other countries, especially in Southern Europe: the state is being rolled back, and more and more, we are ruled by authoritarian technocrats. Our common resources are being plundered, by investment bankers who take massive bailouts and pay themselves bonuses, and by tax dodging corporations who use our infrastructure to make their profit, but contribute nothing to it. All the pain from the financial crisis is being pushed on to ordinary people, and the social gains made since the end of the second world war are eroded.
Many are gripped by despair, and the suicide rate is rising.
Unless we band together and resist this, what is happening in Greece now will soon be happening across Europe and further afield. And it’s not good. To give you a foretaste of what you can expect from the Austerity World Tour:
Paul Mason, the BBC Newsnight editor, compares Greece to the dying days of the Weimar Republic - the period just before Hitler came to power. In order to preserve their power and legitimacy, the Greek state seems to be outsourcing repression to the Nazi Golden Dawn party. Politicians are increasingly practising dog whistle politics and banging reactionary drums as the political centre collapses. As The Guardian reports, the Greek police have been thoroughly infiltrated by the Golden Dawn.
This report on the rise of the Golden Dawn makes absolutely chilling reading: Nazi gangs are beating up and murdering immigrants and leftists, as well shutting down theatre productions and cultural events. Part of the reason the Golden Dawn is able to build support is that their food banks hand out free food to people who are on the breadline. This is why we urge you to donate to our Greek solidarity campaign – we want to provide our union comrades in Greece with enough money to be able to be able to counter this and distribute food as well.
Tax evasion is as much of a problem in Greece as it is in the UK and other countries, as the New York Times reports. Investigative journalist Kostas Vaxevanis published the names of 2,059 Greeks with Swiss bank accounts; many of them, including prominent politicians, are suspected of tax evasion. The response of the authorities was not, as you might expect, to investigate those who might be guilty of tax evasion – they arrested Mr Vaxevanis.
As we will report tomorrow, the Greek health system is under severe pressure, with the unemployed being denied medical care. Only solidarity networks of doctors are providing health care.
It is vital that we stand with the people of Greece now and show them solidarity. If the Greeks are isolated and defeated, they will come for us next.
For more on Greece, see our Snip.It collection of crucial articles.
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